Product designers in a wide range of industry sectors often choose to machine low quantities of prototype parts in the early phases of product development before designs are finalised and parts are produced in production volumes. Firstcut can provide marine designers with truly functional prototype CNC machined brass parts in just 1-3 days.
Customers upload their CAD models to Proto Labs’ secure servers via the website to receive a FirstQuote: a fully interactive and firm-cost analysis that also contains detailed information for optimising the part design for manufacturing. As soon as the customer places an order, Firstcut’s proprietary software - running on a purpose-built, ultra-powerful compute cluster, automatically produces the tool paths required to program the CNC machines. This fast and automated system eliminates non-recurring engineering (NRE) costs and delays, making it an affordable process for quantities of between 1 and 10+ parts. Traditionally, subcontract machining simply cannot deliver one-off parts with such short lead-times and are often prohibitively expensive due to programming and set-up times.
“There simply is no other way of getting high-quality, precision machined brass parts manufactured so quickly,” says Commercial Manager, Damian Hennessey. “By providing Medical designers and engineers with cost-effective, fully functional components in as little as 1 business day we’re helping them to better manage their product development programs. They can identify pre-production difficulties and bring new and better products to market faster than ever before.”
As well as brass, Firstcut works with a variety of other stock materials, including aluminium, plastics such as PVC, and resins like PEEK and Ultem. The machining process can also be used on a wide range of other resins that can be injection moulded, making it ideal for initial testing of parts that will later be produced in much higher volumes.